Archive for the ‘Random Countries’ Category

Random country #1: Dominican Republic

May 17, 2016

Random country #1: Dominican Republic

I’m always looking for new ways to discover things to read. It really concerns me that I might get set into certain patterns, and miss something which might change my thinking just out of habit.

I’ve done it different ways, but today, I thought I’d pick a random country and see what was in the USA Kindle store for it. Sure, I want to expand my horizons, but I want the convenience of buying from the Kindle store…and doing something I think is illegal or immoral (for me) is not where I’m going to go.

In terms of methodology, I figured I’d go with United Nations member states. That doesn’t cover every country, but does cover quite a few. So, I started with the

United Nations list of member states

from their site.

Next, I used our

Amazon Echo (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

to give me a random number between one and twenty-six (to get a letter), and then had it give me a random number for the number of countries that started with that letter. That was just a simple way to do it.

The letter was “D” and the number was “6”…which is the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican Republic joined the UN on October 24, 1945…which means it joined in the first year (but wasn’t one of the very first).

For an overview, here is

The Dominican Republic at Wikipedia

Briefly, it is on the same island as Haiti, and has one of the more robust economies in the area.

I’ll admit, I couldn’t name authors from the Dominican Republic right offhand…which fit right in with the idea of checking “random countries”!

I checked a couple of sites outside of Amazon first:

The Latino Author

Dominican Republic Literature at Wikipedia

The latter, not surprisingly, had a much bigger list…including at least one well-known name in the USA, Junot Diaz. It also had links to other online sites.

Next, I wanted to see what Amazon had. That’s part of the point of this for me, to see what shoppers at Amazon would find who were interested in the given country’s literature.

Search for “Dominican Republic” in the USA Kindle store (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I got 343 results, with 80 available through

Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

at no additional cost for members of Amazon’s subser (subscription service). I’ve been a happy KU member since they started, so I do always check that. In fact, I basically read e-books I already own (our adult kid just gave me a bunch of science fiction pulp anthologies) or books from KU. I put other books on my wish list for my family. 🙂

Here is the distribution among categories:

Note that the same book may appear in multiple categories (I think up to three).

Hm..nothing is listed as literature, although clearly, many of the books in “Kindle eBooks” are likely to be fiction.

Oh, that’s better! When I clicked “Kindle eBooks” and then expanded, I got more valuable categories:

Checking literature, I found something that very much fit what I would want to read…if it was in KU:

In the Time of the Butterflies (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)
by Julia Alvarez
4.4 stars out of 5 (459 customer reviews)

Alvarez is a native of the Dominican Republic, and wrote How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents.

It’s based on real events in history, when “Las Mariposas” (The Butterflies”) who, as siblings, opposed the dictatorial leader Trujillo.

That’s exactly the kind of cultural thing I would think would give me insight into a country’s thoughts and feelings…like an expert American writer fictionalizing Billy the Kid, or an Australian writing about Ned Kelly.

There were six KU  books listed as history for the Dominican Republic, and I would probably read this one if I was going to go visit:

History and Culture of Dominican Republic, Government, Politics Economy, Tourism: Migration, The First Colony
by Uzo Marvin

I’d also look for a humor book, a children’s book, and a science fiction/fantasy book. 🙂 Being me, I’d look for a book on the animals of the country as well.

I suspect I may have some readers with knowledge of the literature of The Dominican Republic, though, so before I keep digging, I thought I’d ask…any recommendations? I’d prefer KU,  of course, but regardless, I’m curious. 🙂 Feel free to make them (or add other thoughts) by commenting on this post.

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*When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.




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